Last year I was not able to make it to Munich for Oktoberfest. Work got in the way.
I hate when that happens.
This year I was excited to celebrate my 14th visit to this world famous festival. What follows is a hodge podge of some of my favorite foods I ate during the week, not necessarily all at the fest, some in different places around Munich.
Once landed in Munich, I always reach for a butterbrezel as my off the plane snack. A fresh soft pretzel cut in half and slathered with sweet Bavarian butter. This year I tried something different and chose instead the schnittlauchbretzel. A soft pretzel sandwiched around fresh whipped cream cheese and chives. I admit over the course of the week, I had more than one or two of these.
There was a new Indian restaurant to test drive in my old neighborhood the evening I arrived. We were wary at first about entering Shere-Punjab because there were not that many people dining there. However, the food and the service both proved to be delightful.I ordered my favorite dish, Chicken Korma and it did not disappoint. I will definitely return. Too dark and too jet lagged to photograph anything, unfortunately.
|Photo By Stacey Van Hooven|
The next evening, I convened with my best girlfriends in a favorite restaurant also near my old flat called Ksara in the popular Schwabing district. The cuisine is Lebanese and delectable. I split an appetizers for two (Mezze Royal) order and the small plates kept coming. More than enough for two people. After sampling both red and white, we were pleasantly surprised with how delicious the house Lebanese wines were.
The next day was my first visit of the trip to Oktoberfest or the Wiesn' as the locals call it. After being seated in the new Marstall tent (formerly the Hippodrome, a former favorite hangout), I ordered a Radler, a liter of half helles beer and half lemon soda. I am a beer lightweight so I need my beer diluted. One of the most popular Oktoberfest dishes is a halbe hendl or half chicken with salty crispy skin. The more salty the food, the more thirsty the customers are. No brainer. This one arrived with warm delicious German potato salad.
Indulging in Obatdza is a must, a cheese spread consisting of ripe camembert, butter, beer and seasonings. There is nothing better to dip a soft pretzel into. This obatdza platter came with an assortment of meats and sausages, sweet pickles, schmaltz, mustard and fresh shredded horseradish as well as a lovely selection of German breads.
The next day I was jonzing for käsespätzle. My girlfriends indulged me. Bless them. We sat outside chatting over a nice bottle of red wine at Zum Franziskaner situated kitty corner to Munich's opera house. A great location for people watching with excellent food to boot. Their version of käse spätzle had sauerkraut threaded throughout the dish.
It came accompanied by a lovely green salad topped with shredded radishes. I was a bit skeptical at first about the sauerkraut addition to this German specialty but it added a tinge of sour flavor that was unexpectedly pleasing and the käsespätzle itself was outstanding.
The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit was at the top of my list the following day at the Kunsthalle. It was fabulous, fun and fascinating. I was especially taken by the talking and singing mannequins.
After being dazzled by sequins, stones, studs and cone bras, I met a friend for cafe und kuchen, or in our case, cake and Aperol spritzers at one of my favorite Munich spots, Brasserie OskarMaria at The Literaturhaus. When I arrived my friend was drinking a rhubarb schorle (spritzer), sparkling water toped with rhubarb juice. After tasting it I was hooked. After a peek in the pastry case, I ordered a fig marzipan cake which was melt in my mouth good. Fresh figs pressed into the top of a marzipan studded cake. Yes. Please.
My friend had a light, tangy lemon tart which was also excellent.
The next day was a tasting run at the Oktoberfest. The goal was to put together a food piece for my German Food Page at about.com.
After an earlier scouting mission, I created a list of off-beat Oktoberfest foods. Some I had never tried before and some were new to the Wiesn' this year. They ranged from snacks to main courses.
I dragged along one of my partners in crime to sample weird and wonderful things like ox sandwiches. They roast a whole ox on one of the tents every year.
We loved the slow spinning gugelhpft shaped tent where you could hop aboard to order a delicious coffee and sample many varieties of gugelhupf (bundt cake) while taking in a 360 degree view of the festivities. We chose the egg liquor version.
Kinderschokolade crepes and caramelized chili roasted mixed nuts were also some of the items on my list. You can read my post here.
After leaving the Oktoberfest that day, I did a quick hit over at Dallmayr, my favorite gourmet store in Munich. I bought some gifts and gawked at their Oktoberfest themed lebkuchen hearts, marzipan goodies, spirits and chocolates.
The next day I met the same friend for lunch at Cafe Glockenspiel one of Munich's popular restaurants in the center of town right on the Marianplatz. You ride up the elevator to the 5th floor (6th if you count in American).
The wintergarden section looks out over Munich's town hall. It's cozy and light filled. I used to love their käse spätzle but sadly it was no longer on the menu.
After ordering my new favorite rhubarb schorle, I settled for a lovely salad with honey rosemary infused goat cheese and walnuts. Not very German but the whole "when in Rome" thing kicked in when we ordered dessert. A piece of apple strudel in warm vanilla sauce shared after our salads. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. Excellent service as well.
That evening I met another Girlfriend at Eclipse, a new Israeli restaurant in Schwabing. The food was incredible. Every dish was so flavorful and the house wines were also excellent.
I ordered a falafel plate which came with hummus and had my choice of three sides. I picked Zeytim, black olives pickled in garlic oil, Hazil Babaganush, roasted eggplant with mayonnaise and a spicy red chili sauce.
My friend ordered the Schackschuka, three deep fried eggs nestled in homemade tomato sauce.
She also ordered the Hazil Habait, a grilled eggplant tomato concoction from the Israeli tapas section of the menu was out of this world.
Then it was time to get it together to say goodbye (for now) to my wonderful friends and the city of my heart.
One last note, one of my friends in Munich turned me on to a new (to me) Lindt chocolate bar flavor, crème brûlée. Milk chocolate with a crunchy crème brûlée flavored filling. It is divine I tell ya. I am not sure this flavor is available in the States but I am sure I will be on the lookout to score one when I get home.